This paper by a team including Dr Marian Garcia Martinez of Kent Business School presents a theoretical framework grounded on the Resource Based View (RBV) of the firm to determine the strategic impacts from the technological evolution of food traceability systems. By viewing food traceability systems as unique resources embedded in firms’ routines, the research aims to establish the effects of technological innovations on firm sustainable performance. We empirically test our theoretical framework using data from an online survey to UK food companies that have implemented technological innovations in their traceability systems. Regression analysis supports our overall hypothesis that firms gain sustainable competitive advantage by innovating food traceability systems. Technological innovations in human resources are a major source of improved sustainable performance as they make the resource non-substitutable in the short and medium term. This article provides important policy implications for regulators and businesses as food traceability systems become integral to ensure food supply chain integrity. Regulatory interventions do not drive the technological evolution of food traceability systems; innovation relates to the idiosyncratic situation of the firm, making firms to compete to obtain the right non-substitutable resources, particularly human, to work with regulators.
This research was published in the International Journal of Production Economics in April 2014